Red Pepper For Better Health
The fiery taste and bright color of red pepper make it one of the world’s most noticeable spices. This herb has become as hot in healing as it is on the tongue. Extracts of red pepper have shown to be effective at relieving certain types of severe, chronic pain and may aid digestion.
This herb is traditional used as a digestive aid and pain reliever. Red pepper owes its heat and its value in herbal healing to one chemical found in its fruit called capsaicin.
Different Uses For Red Pepper (capsaicin)
Red pepper assists digestion by stimulating the flow of both saliva and stomach secretions. Saliva contains enzymes that begin the breakdown of carbohydrate, while stomach secretions (gastric juices) contain acids and other substances that further digest food.
Rubbing red pepper into the skin to treat muscle and joint pain, a treatment that causes minor superficial pain and distracts the person from the more severe deeper pain is sometimes used. Red pepper has shown to have real pain relieving (analgesic) properties by showing that capsaicin interferes with the action of the “substance P” a chemical in the nerves that sends pain messages to the brain.
Red pepper has been used to treat Shingles, Diabetic Foot Pain and Cluster Headaches.
And may help cut cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
Using Red Pepper
In food, season to taste, but use on the side of caution. A little too much can set the mouth on fire.
For an infusion to aid digestion and possibly help reduce the risk of heart disease, use ¼ to ½ teaspoon per cup of boiling water. Drink it after meals.
For external application to help treat pain, mix ¼ to ½ teaspoon per cup of warm vegetable oil and rub it into the affected area.
Caution: Red pepper should not be given to children under age 2.
Other Safety Factors
Chopping red peppers may burn the fingers and hands, I found this out through experience, it is not pleasant. Please wear gloves. Red pepper does not wash off the hands easily. Washing in vinegar removes it best. Even with careful washing the strong herb may remain on the fingers and hands for hours and cause severe eye pain if contaminated fingers touch the eyes. Remember to use rubber gloves when chopping red peppers.
If you have any open sores or cuts, red pepper can burn terribly.
Red pepper is considered safe in small amounts. If red pepper causes minor discomforts such as stomach upset, diarrhea, or burning, use less or stop using it.
Before starting any herbs, always check with your doctor first.